- Southland Conference
Infobox Athletic Conference
name = Southland Conference
established = 1963
logo_size = 100
association = NCAA
subdivision = FCS
members = 12
sports = 17
mens = 8
womens = 9
region = South Central
hq_city = Frisco
hq_stateabb = TX
hq_state = Texas
commissioner = Tom Burnett
since = 2002
website = http://www.southland.org
color = 1C352D
font_color = FFFFFF
map_size = 250
The Southland Conference is a college athletic conference which operates in the south central
United States. It participates in the NCAA's Division I for all sports; for football, it participates in the Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). The Southland sponsors 17 sports, nine for women and eight for men, and is governed by a presidential Board of Directors and an Advisory Council of athletic and academic administrators. Tom Burnett was named the Southland's sixth commissioner on Dec. 23, 2002.
The Conference's offices are located in the Dallas suburb of
Founded in 1963, the original members included Abilene Christian College (now departed), Arkansas State College (departed 1987), Arlington State College (now The
University of Texas at Arlington), Lamar State College of Technology (now Lamar University), and Trinity University (Texas)(departed 1971).
Southland Conference football ranks among the best Division I FCS leagues in the nation, and enjoys an annual expectation of competing for the national championship with multiple teams advancing to the NCAA playoffs each year. In 2002 and 2003, McNeese State finished the regular season ranked No. 1 in the nation, and advanced to the 2002 national championship contest, the sixth such title game appearance since the league joined the FCS (then known as Division I-AA) in 1982. All told, Southland teams have played in 84 Division I-AA/FCS playoff games in 23 years, winning 42 of the contests.
Historically, the Southland's successful football heritage has sustained itself through numerous membership and classification changes. Originally an NAIA conference, the Southland joined the NCAA College Division in 1968. The College Division was re-named NCAA Division II in 1973, and the league played two seasons in that class. The Southland became an NCAA Division I league in 1975, and was a charter member of Division I-A (now Division I FBS) when Division I split for football in 1978. It moved to the FCS ranks in 1982, where it has remained to this day.
During its tenure as a Division I and I-A conference from 1975-81, the Southland Conference was instrumental in the startup of the
Independence Bowlin 1976. The Southland representative served as the host team of the bowl until 1980, compiling a 2-3 record in the contests. The Conference can lay claim to five national football championships, including College Division championships through former members Arkansas State (1970, UPI) and Louisiana Tech (1972, National Football Foundation). Louisiana Tech also won the first-ever NCAA-sanctioned national title, winning the Division II playoffs in 1973. Tech followed that with the UPI's Division II national championship in 1974. Northeast Louisiana, now Louisiana-Monroe, won the 1987 Division I-AA national title.
McNeese State, which has made 12 appearances in the national playoffs, also played in the 1997 I-AA national championship game, and Stephen F. Austin played in the 1989 title game, one of four playoff runs for the Lumberjacks. Northwestern State has played in six national playoffs, and advanced to the semifinals in 1998, while Sam Houston State has earned four trips to the postseason, including the semifinals in 2004, Nicholls State has participated twice, and Texas State once, advancing to the 2005 semifinals.
On four occasions, the Southland has placed three teams in the national 16-team playoffs. Six of the eight current football-playing members have qualified for the I-AA/FCS playoffs. In addition, Texas State won NCAA Division II titles in 1981 and 1982 before joining the Southland.
Lamar University, which dropped its program in 1989, recently announced its plan to resume its football program in 2010. The Cardinals will play a Southland schedule in 2011.
The Southland has produced 149 first-team football All-Americans during its history, and has sent such talent to the professional ranks including Dallas'
Keith Davis(SHSU), Arizona's Josh McCown(SHSU), Buffalo's Terrence McGee(Northwestern State), Baltimore's B.J. Sams(McNeese), Chicago's Mike Green(Northwestern State), Jacksonville's Kenny Wright(Northwestern State), Houston's Chad Stanley(SFA), Philadelphia's Jeremiah Trotter(SFA), San Diego's Clinton Ballard(Texas State) and Chicago's Chris Thompson(Nicholls). In the 2002 NFL Draft alone, five Southland players were selected.
Former NFL stars from the Southland include
Fred Dean, Bill Bergey, Stan Humphries, Fred Barnett, Roger Carr, Marvin Upshaw, Larry Centers, Kavika Pittman, Mike Barber, Bruce Collie, Tim McKyer, Pat Tilley, Jackie Harris, Eugene Seale, Bubby Brister, Billy Ryckman, Rafael Septien, Buford Jordan, Marcus Spears, Terrance Shawand Ray Brown.
With its current alignment of 12 institutions in Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas, the Southland is at its largest membership configuration in its 43-year history.
Southland Conference Men's Basketball Tournament
Southland Conference Women's Basketball Tournament
Southland Conference Baseball Tournament
* [http://www.southland.org/ Official site of the Southland Conference]
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